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@Robby zhu posted:

1. Can you think yourself young?

  Is the structure similar to that of this one?

2.  He roared himself hoarse.

Interesting question, Robby zhu. 2022 has indeed started with some grammar challenges!

I would say that, from a strictly syntactic point of view, both patterns look similar: Verb + Direct Object + Object Complement. However, in (1) "young" seems to be short for "being young." This transformation is not possible in (2) because "roar" functions as a process verb: he roared until he got hoarse / he roared so much that he got hoarse. I think different paraphrases will be possible depending on whether the verb is stative or dynamic.

Thanks, Gustavo, for the detailed explanation.

I find that I might have asked too formally,  making the question look like a formal syntactic one.  My purpose was to see if I understand the sentence (1) correctly, because that use of "think" was new to me. I made the comparison, just hoping  that other members can better understand my question.

I think they are similar because both the adjectives in final position  seem to denote a resultant state -  I understand both sentence to mean 1a and 2b respectively:

1a.  Can you make yourself young by thinking?

2a.  He made himself hoarse by roaring.

The interpretation 2a is a salient one, whereas 1a is inferred from the article, so I wasn't sure about it.  Do I get it right and can I generalize this use of "think" as in:

3. I will think him bead.

( Intended meaning: I will make him dead by thinking,  as if I have superpowers)

Last edited by Robby zhu
@Robby zhu posted:

1a.  Can you make yourself young by thinking?


3. I will think him dead.

(Intended meaning: I will make him dead by thinking,  as if I have superpowers)

I see. My first reading of "think" was, and continues to be, "imagine." According to mind control techniques, you can think or imagine yourself in some positive situation and that situation is likely to come true, which would be in line with your interpretation of "think" as a resultative verb. I think (3) is a correct sentence, but your interpretation goes too far from a strictly grammatical perspective. One would normally say "wish somebody dead."

What I'm going to say below is not actually related to grammar, but I cannot help mentioning that your sentence (3) reminded me of an old anthology of short stories I have at home (Stories that scared even me, presented by the famous movie director Alfred Hitchcock), including a story called "The Candidate," by Henry Slesar, where an organization seeks candidates (mostly awful people) to wish them dead. Here are some of the final paragraphs (Mr. Grunzer, the candidate, listened to and believed in the presentation by one of the members of the organization and started to think who he could wish dead, being appalled to discover that he was the one whose death others wished for). I hope you like it:

[...] If wishes became deeds, he [Mr. Grunzer] would have slaughtered dozens in his lifetime. Yet, that was different. His wishes were always secret things, hidden where no man could know them. But this [the organization's] method was different, more practical, more terrifying. Yes, he could see how it might work. He could visualize a thousand minds burning with the single wish of death, see the victim sneering in disbelief at first, and then slowly, gradually, surely succumbing to the tightening, constricting chain of fear that it might work, that so many deadly thoughts could indeed emit a mystical malevolent ray that destroyed life.
'But the victim has to know all this, of course? He has to know that the society exists, and has succeeded, and is wishing for his death? That's essential, isn't it?'
'Absolutely essential,' Tucker [from the organization] said, replacing the manuscripts in his briefcase. 'You've touched on the vital point, Mr. Grunzer. The victim must be informed, and that, precisely, is what I have done.' He looked at his watch. 'Your death wish [the organization's wish for your death] began at noon today. The society has begun to work. I'm very sorry.'

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

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